YANSS 088 – How to bridge the political divide with better moral arguments

In this divisive and polarized era how do you bridge the political divide between left and right? How do you persuade the people on the other side to see things your way?

New research by sociologist Robb Willer and psychologist Matthew Feinberg suggests that the answer is in learning how to cross something they call the empathy gap.

When we produce arguments, we do so from within our own moral framework and in the language of our moral values. Those values rest on top of a set of psychological tendencies influenced by our genetic predispositions and shaped by our cultural exposure that blind us to alternate viewpoints. Because of this, we find it very difficult to construct an argument with the same facts, but framed in a different morality. Willer’s work suggests that if we did that, we would find it a much more successful route to persuading people we usually think of as unreachable.

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Links and Sources

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Previous Episodes

Boing Boing Podcasts

Cookie Recipes

From Gulf to Bridge: When Do Moral Arguments Facilitate Political Influence?

Robb Willer’s Academic Website

Robb Willer’s Personal Website

YourMorals.org

Jonathan Haidt’s TED Talk